'Once Upon A Time' Season 5 Sees Rumple Mentor Emma, But Did The Former Dark One Know The Savior's Fate All Along?

Alright, so it's time to get down to the nitty gritty here when it comes to Once Upon A Time Season 5. We're less than a month away from the season premiere (finally!) and Big Things are going down — lots of them, actually, but you know the one I mean. Emma has become the new Dark One, and that's bound to cause a lot of trouble for a lot of people. I have complete faith that the Storybrooke crew, led by Regina, will be able to restore Emma to her former Savior self, so I won't even bother talking about that. What I do want to talk about is the fact that Rumple is going to mentor Dark Swan, which, when put in context of some earlier events on the show, raises a very important question: Did Rumple know that Emma would eventually be his replacement?

It's not something I necessarily considered — not until this amazing Tumblr post came down my dashboard and suddenly a light bulb went off in my head. If we go all the way back to Season 1, the foreshadowing was certainly there. In "Desperate Souls", the eighth episode of the season, we see one of Gold's first real interactions with Emma, in which he says to her, "I know how to recognize a desperate soul." That doesn't mean much on its own, but when you realize that Zoso, Rumple's Dark One predecessor, said the exact same thing to Rumple before he was killed and Rumple took on the title. Such a remark could be written off as coincidental, perhaps, on some other show, but this is Once we're talking about here, and nothing is a mistake.

There were, of course, other hints over the years — Rumple joking about "roast swan" in flashback scenes, saying the irony would be funny later on; Rumple telling Regina that the darkness likes how she tastes (and it did indeed take to her rather quickly, causing Emma to step in to save her). Given that we know Rumple harbors some amount of premonitory ability, could he have known all those years earlier that eventually Emma would not only be the Savior, but also the Dark One? It's certainly a possibility.

If that's true, then everything we know about Rumple is called into question (not that we were ever truly solid on his motivations, anyway). For instance, he molded Regina into the kind of woman who could and would cast a curse so big that it would send him to another universe, but he also made a deal with Snow White to ensure that Regina's curse could be undone, by way of making Emma the Savior. But what if Emma's importance went beyond just restoring Rumple to his former powers in a new realm and extended to his need for her survival in order to relinquish him of his Dark One powers? Talk about evil.

Then again, there's the matter of why Rumple would be all that thrilled about someone taking his place as the Dark One. Sure, the power is a burden and Rumple wasn't always pure evil, but he's also attached to his power and has chosen it time and time again over pretty much everything else in his life. But given his willingness to help Emma in her new role, something tells me there's much more to learn about this storyline, and I can't wait.

Images: ABC